Saturday, March 29, 2008

Excuse Me Mister

Tarty - a British word relating to, or suggestive of, a prostitute. (ie. Slutty)

It had been a long day and the last thing I needed was to be sat in the back of a rusty black cab racing through the back streets of Glasgow making small talk with the driver. Nevertheless, that was where I found myself at 5pm on a Wednesday evening.

It was hard to believe that I'd woken up that morning wrapped in the arms of my lover, in his cosy double bed in Paris. The day had started wonderfully for that very reason, but by the time I had arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport I was disheveled and stressed out to the max (have you seen how freakin' huge that place is?!). I kissed FP on the lips and raced away through security to catch my flight to Glasgow.

The last one to board the plane was, unsurprisingly, me. I squeezed myself into the seat between two strangers, one of which coughed and spluttered all over me, and switched on my ipod. Loud.

At the other end I got lost. Despite having been promised that my mum would be there to pick me up, she was nowhere to be seen. A meeting at work had held her up and I'd have to make my own way home. I hopped on a bus with the words 'City Centre' printed in fluorescent pink lettering on the side and hoped for the best.

A good 45 minutes later I arrived at Glasgow Bus Station where I decided I'd had enough of buses and of fat people sitting next to me, forcing me to plaster my face against the window. I went straight to the taxi rank where an old man dressed in slightly odd two-tone clothing that reminded me of a) a jester and b) Heather Mills' suit.

Please don't talk to me, taxi driver
. I silently begged. Just let me relax a little and get me home.

But I should be so lucky. The man wanted to know everything about me. He wanted to know where I'd been, where I was going, how did I get there, why was I moving to France, why not stay in Scotland, what's
wrong with Glasgow (his tone was a little defensive by this point), where were my parents from, did they mind me leaving the country, did I have a boyfriend, was he French, what was wrong with Glaswegian men (again, the tone was a little defensive) until finally he appeared to run out of questions.

He looked in his rear view mirror at me.

"Do you ever wear tarty clothes?" He said in a completely nonchalant way. I studied his eyes in the reflection of the mirror. I looked down at my clothes. Leaning forward I asked the driver to repeat himself.

"Do you ever wear tarty clothes?" He said again. Was this crazy old fool hitting on me or what?! How dare he! At his age? What a minger!

"Tarty?!" I exclaimed loudly, "Excuse me, mister, but are you kiddi-"

"No!" he shook his head from side to side vigorously, "
not tarty, I said tartan!"


On my To Do List before I leave for France; get my hearing tested.


Teuchter said...

Ah. The aggressive friendliness of the Glaswegian. I remember it well.

Your post reminded me of the time I was left waiting for someone in the caff at Queen's St Station. A lecherous old git, who was probably only in his forties actually, sat himself down at the same table and, after the usual preliminaries about the weather, demanded information re my underwear. I had to go and hide in the ladies until my bf arrived to rescue me.

Loth said...

Being Edinburgh born and bred I get lost each and every time I set foot in Glasgow, so I sympathise. Never been asked if I wear tartan though...

Congratulations on the job and imminent defection to Versailles (not the big house with the mirrors and all that though, I presume?)

Ghosty said...

Just don't get an outfit like Heather Mills. Yikes! It's like Superwoman off to a business meeting or something.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha! But what a random question ask someone in the back of a cab!

Jane said...

Have to say I agree with sg, the fact that he was asking you about your attire at all is slightly worrying, tho I can understand your temporary relief that he wasn't asking you about any trollopy tendencies you might have. Thanks, as always, for making me giggle!


Leah said...

That taxi driver was certainly proud and still a tad creepy despite the fact that he said tartan and not tarty.

A big congrats on your new job and move to France. Best of luck!

Angela said...

I guess even though cab drivers are supposed to be completely "professional" (well, as far as cab drives go...), I'm always a little afraid of conversations with them.

Despina said...

Excellent, oh dear Princesse, you really need to take better care of yourself on these long journeys :(
I hope it's not too poo sans FP, I'd be happy to read your whingings and respond with e-chocolate xxx

Micah D. Newton said...

nice. it must be the week to mis-hear things. i've done it a lot.

but if it makes you feel any better, i went out for "girls night" a few weeks ago while the husband was out with the boys. i got good and schnockered and thought it best to cab it home (which was my only option as Husband dropped me off at my locale before heading to his).

so cabbie i called and on the way to my house, he managed not only to call me a skank (slut, tart, whatever) for going out WITHOUT my husband, but actually suggested that my husband divorce me immediately the next time i ask for a girls night out.

shockingly, he did not receive the finest of tips.

Zhu said...

Still, I mean, what a question! :D

When I was in France last month, I keep on being a translator between my parents (French only) and my hubby (English only). One night, my mum asked me out of the blue:

"Comment on dit un homme chaud en anglais?"

"Pardon, maman!!!"

"Non, non, un homme chauve"


If you find a good place for your hearing test, let me know!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Teuchter ah yes, the weegie old man, how could one ever forget this unique breed?! Your story had me chuckling! Why does it seem that there are more lecherous old gits in Glesgae than anywhere else?! And why do they get away with it!

Loth we considered moving into the big house with the mirrors and all that but you will never believe how expensive it is to rent. Just slightly out of our budget, I'm afraid. And there is no internet connection already installed. I mean can you imagine!!

Ghosty Heather Mills' outfit is possibly the most vile suit to ever have been designed. Ever. Without exception.

SG Yeah it was such an odd and unexpected question. Was it something to do with the fact that taxi drivers must talk constantly even about unrelated and odd things? Possibly.

Jane Agreed. Needless to say, he didn't receive a tip. And thank God we were just around the corner from my house, so I could pay quickly before I ran away, red-faced!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Leah Thanks hon! Yeah, if you ever come to Glasgow you will see that 99.9% of Glaswegians are rather...patriotic, shall we say. The Weegie cab driver can be aggresively proud. Next time I shall remember to LIE (no, I'm NOT moving away from the city, no, I've never been anywhere other than Glasgow, why would I want to leave Glasgow? etc)

Angela Me Toooooooo!

Despina hahaha! I know, these long journeys are killin' me, I'm not sure how many more cringey moments I can take! Mmmmmmm e-chocolate! Parfait!!!!!!

Micah Oh my gaaaawd how dare he say that?! (Actually are you sure that's what he said? You didn't just mis-hear? :-p ) What a complete gobshite!

Zhu hahahaha oh Zhu! tu as fait des betises! That is the kind of thing I do alllllll the time when in France and am trying to understand French people. Could have been worse though...could have been someone other than ta maman!

T.D. Newton said...

That is pretty hilarious. Especially since it is really easy to mishear folks (you guys have an accent, ya know?). The whole time I was in New York, I did not get a chatty cab driver and I kind of prefer it that way. Just let me listen to your Spanish music radio station and wait patiently until you say we've arrived (whilst holding on for dear life!!!), no conversation necessary, as I'm liable to mishear you.

As to what Micah said... It's extra funny that such weird crap happens to people I know solely because I'm not there. But it does keep me entertained.

Princesse Ecossaise said...

But TD, it is you who has the accent!

You are lucky not having had a chatty cab driver, I have only once had a quiet cab driver as far as I can remember and I get taxis ever single week! I think - and I'm not even joking when I say this - that it's written somewhere in a taxi driver's job description here that they need to make small talk / tell their life story to every passenger that gets in. But I so wish they wouldn't. For once I'd just like to get in to the back of the cab and say where I'm going and then listen to the radio. Is that too much to ask?! I mean, is it?!????

Ahem, sorry I think I got a tad carried away there...

As for the cabbie that called your lovely wife a skank...sort him out TD! Be a tough man and go get him!!

T.D. Newton said...

Hahahaha "sort him out!" More international slang! Seriously, it's not like there are only a handful of cab drivers in Denver. Even so, he might have just been kidding with her, and people are allowed to have their opinions (even if they're lame) right??

When I was a kid I used to think that all cab drivers were talkative, or that it was in their job description. I guess I watched Die Hard one too many times.

Micah D. Newton said...

me thinks that if one's job depends that heavily on tips, one should be a little more selective with what one says to one's clients.

he was a jackamo.

that's all there is to it.

fortunately, i was blitzed enough to continue the conversation so whatever.

T.D. Newton said...

Welcome to the Denver-Glasgow Slang Exchange!

Teuchter said...

Cabbies of all nationalities seem to fall into one of two main categories - they either have Verbal Diarrhoea or they're Stonily Silent.

Edinburgh seems to have the pleasantly loquatious type - a sub-category of VD.